We learnt as Kop end Blues’ un­beaten run

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

Liver­pool are top four con­tenders In each of Liver­pool’s open­ing three fix­tures, the re­sult did not quite do them jus­tice. They were bet­ter than the one goal mar­gin against Arse­nal, dom­i­nant in de­feat to Burn­ley and should have beaten an off-colour Tot­ten­ham at White Hart Lane.

It all prop­erly came to­gether for them last week­end against Le­ices­ter and now, this per­for­mance should make their top four cre­den­tials clear. This is, on its day, an ex­cel­lent team and one that should be play­ing Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son

Lapses in con­cen­tra­tion are cost­ing Conte’s de­fence Be­fore this meet­ing, Chelsea had con­ceded just seven shots on tar­get in the Premier League this sea­son, the least of any team. Im­pres­sive, you might think, un­til you no­ticed the num­ber ‘4’ in their ‘goals con­ceded’ col­umn.

When they let their fifth of the cam­paign, De­jan Lovren’s 17th-minute opener, the Liver­pool cen­tre-back was one of three un­marked red shirts queu­ing up to notch at the far post. All of them had been left there by a day­dream­ing de­fence.

A lapse in con­cen­tra­tion had cost them, just as it did at Swansea last week­end (yes, Gary Cahill was fouled by Leroy Fer, but he should not have al­lowed it to hap­pen). Conte must iron out these er­rors.

Mig­no­let is still an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen Klopp’s show of faith in Si­mon Mig­no­let is com­mend­able but, like against Le­ices­ter last week­end, there were mo­ments when you won­dered whether such loy­alty is naïve.

The Bel­gian goal­keeper was rarely called into ac­tion, but still man­aged to shank one kick af­ter putting him­self un­der need­less pres­sure in the first half, and then dropped a cross on his penalty spot to send the away end into a flutter.

Loris Kar­ius is wait­ing and, rightly or wrongly, will not be handed the gloves un­til Mig­no­let cocks up prop­erly. By that point, it may have cost Liver­pool.

Klopp’s ‘soft mid­dle’ can be ex­posed While their front three may be fright­en­ing, Liver­pool’s mid­field can leave their back four watch­ing from be­tween their fin­gers. Jor­dan Hen­der­son makes an ad­mirable ef­fort of shield­ing his de­fence, but nei­ther he nor Ge­orginio Wi­janl­dum or Adam Lal­lana of­fer enough pro­tec­tion.

Many were dis­ap­pointed not to see a left-back ar­rive at An­field dur­ing the trans­fer win­dow, but few re­alised that Klopp also over­looked his side’s soft mid­dle. Chelsea did too, and did not spend enough time prob­ing through the cen­tre un­til their sec­ond-half fight­back.

Emre Can, who ma­tured in the hold­ing role last sea­son, is cur­rently be­ing nursed back to fit­ness. For Liver­pool, the sooner he re­turns, the bet­ter.

Ex­pect more of the same from David Luiz It was only his first game back at Stamford Bridge but on this ev­i­dence, David Luiz learnt lit­tle from his two years in Paris. It’s the same, harum scarum stuff from the Brazil­ian who, given the tim­ing of his re­turn, was surely not too high on Conte’s list of de­fen­sive tar­gets.

He is, at least, a trier and did not sulk like many of his Stamford Bridge team­mates when Liver­pool were in the as­cen­dancy. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Chelsea’s play­ers and sup­port has been frac­tious in re­cent times. Luiz’s char­ac­ter, if not his de­fend­ing, can help bridge that gap.

– The In­de­pen­dent

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